No matter whether you’re an intended parent or prospective surrogate, we know that your time is precious. Even if surrogacy is one of your greatest dreams, there are likely other important aspects of your life that you have to plan around before committing to this life-changing process.
So, one of the most common questions from people like you is, “How long does the surrogacy process take?”
This is a good question for both prospective gestational carriers and intended parents to ask before getting started. Surrogacy will require a great deal from both parties in this journey, including a large time commitment from beginning to end. Knowing what to expect before starting will help ensure that your surrogacy journey meets your expectations.
While every surrogacy process is different, most surrogacy journeys take about 12 to 24 months to be completed. Certain aspects — such as the number of available surrogacy matches, medical processes and more — will determine how long or short your surrogacy journey will take.
Below, you’ll find a sample breakdown of the different steps involved. We always encourage you to reach out to our surrogacy specialists at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) for more detailed information on what your personal surrogacy timeline will look like.
Pre-Screening Stage: 2-4 Months for Gestational Carriers, 1 Month for Intended Parents with Created Embryos
Before either a gestational surrogate or an intended parent can even begin the surrogacy process, they must complete certain pre-screening steps. These steps exist to ensure that all parties are physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the potential challenges and rewards of the process ahead.
If you are a prospective gestational carrier, your first steps will be to fill out the initial application form and a social and medical history form. If you meet the basic surrogacy requirements, you will next undergo an in-home assessment completed by a trained social worker, as well as general backgrounds checks. You and your spouse will also need to complete a mental health and psychosocial evaluation.
If you are an intended parent pursuing surrogacy, you will first submit a planning questionnaire detailing your desires for your surrogacy journey. Then, you will undergo similar screening, including background clearances and, if needed, an in-home assessment. If you have already created embryos for your surrogacy journey, you will be able to complete your pre-screening stage fairly quickly. Otherwise, the process of creating embryos for a gestational surrogacy can greatly increase the time spent in this stage.
So, how long does this part of the surrogacy process take? That will depend upon your communication and coordination with your surrogacy specialist and any other professionals needed during this step.
Matching Stage: 1-3 Months
So, how long does the surrogacy process take after you have been approved? First, you’ll need to match with a surrogacy partner.
How long this step takes will depend upon your preferences for a surrogacy partner and the available surrogacy situations with your surrogacy professional. At American Surrogacy, our specialists employ a large network to find surrogacy situations and help you match with a partner as quickly as possible. For many intended parents and gestational carriers, this is the shortest step in the process. You will be presented a surrogacy profile, complete a conference call with your prospective match and finalize your match with a legal surrogacy contract.
Preparation for and Completion of Embryo Transfer: 3-6 Months
Once your surrogacy match has been confirmed with a contract (which usually takes one or two months), the medical process of surrogacy can begin. A gestational carrier will work closely with her intended parents’ fertility clinic to complete additional screening (done four to six weeks before the contract is signed) and to start a fertility medication protocol. This medication will allow reproductive endocrinologists to manage her cycle for 30 days prior to the embryo transfer process.
How long this step takes will depend upon several factors: the policies of the fertility clinic, any mock transfers that need to be completed, whether intended parents are using fresh or frozen embryos, and more. The embryo transfer process itself is done within an hour. The gestational carrier’s pregnancy levels will be tested twice in the following days, and she will undergo an ultrasound a few weeks later to confirm pregnancy.
If an embryo transfer is unsuccessful, that can increase the time spent on your surrogacy process. Your surrogacy contract will always detail any additional transfers that will be completed if the initial procedure fails to take.
Pregnancy: 9 Months
Once a gestational carrier is pregnant, both parties are in the home stretch of the surrogacy process. There are only nine months to go until a baby is born and the surrogacy process is complete!
A gestational carrier will receive prenatal care throughout her pregnancy to ensure she and the unborn baby are as healthy as possible during this time. Her intended parents will likely be present during certain appointments and milestones, including the baby’s birth.
Once the baby is born and any necessary parentage orders are completed, the surrogacy process will be over. Whether your surrogacy process takes more or less time than you expected, you will find it will all have been worth it when that little child enters the world.
Remember, every surrogacy journey is different, and yours may take longer or shorter than the average quoted by your surrogacy professional. At American Surrogacy, we make every effort to ensure your surrogacy journey meets your expectations, and we will do all we can to respect your timing desires, as well.
Have more questions about how long the surrogacy process takes? Please contact our surrogacy professionals today for more information.